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ISW: Russia forced to choose between skilled defense workers and military personnel
Russian dictator Vladimir Putin announced a new strategy to mobilize the “struggling Russian defense industrial base (DIB) for a protracted war effort,” according to The Institute for the Study of War.
In its latest update, ISW referenced a March 14 announcement about the list of specialties that could get a deferral from military service. The Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade prepared the list, Putin announced the strategy but didn’t specify the specialties receiving the exemption.
This move by the Russian leadership “suggests that the Kremlin is prioritizing using skilled workers in the production of Russian weapons over having skilled soldiers fight in Russia’s military,” the report said.
The news comes amid the Russian advance in Bakhmut. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the leader of the Wagner mercenary group, claimed that his troops took control of an industrial zone, the AZOM plant, in Bakhmut earlier on March 14.
Ukraine emphasized its commitment to defend Bakhmut after President Volodymyr Zelensky met with top generals on March 14. Ukraine’s Commander-in-Chief Valerii Zaluzhnyi said the city is of “paramount strategic importance for deterring the enemy.”
Ukraine has faced heavy casualties in the city's defense, with outnumbered Ukrainian fighters describing it as a desperate survival challenge.